Friday, August 31, 2012

Spot check

I started bleeding tonight. Not good. It's only very light, barely spotting, but then again that's how my periods start.

Have no idea if my cyst burst or if my period is starting early. Will a burst cyst cause problems that will cause an infection? What if I missed a pill? Or was late? Is my whole cycle for India screwed now? My head is spinning and it is taking everything not to freak out. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Simple Cyst

When I woke up this morning, I wondered if I should just stay in bed. Was trying to get 8 CONTINUOUS hours of sleep, which is nearly impossible in my house due to the fact that I stay up too late and my husband gets up early. A bad dream woke me up after 6 1/2 hours. I tried to go back to sleep until my husband's 7am alarm, but I never really did.

I should have just stayed in bed the rest of the day. Already I felt weepy.

At 9:20 am I had a followup appointment at my OB/GYN's office (Dr. I) to check for cysts. I didn't even have to ask this time, the big black space on the monitor told me everything. Then I met with the doctor, where he informed me that I have a minor "simple cyst" and not to worry. Except I do worry. And then I asked the size... 5 x 4.1 cm. Look, I may not be a doctor, but that's not small. I think the one that threw off my cycle last time was smaller than that and that we had to aspirate before proceeding.

I reminded Dr. I that I was starting IVF in September and that a cyst was a problem last time. He said we could check in a few weeks, that it would probably burst on it's own. Without losing my shit, I explained I would be on a plane next Thursday. He still seemed mighty casual about it all and said that if we wanted to PUSH to remove it, then I would have to undergo GENERAL anesthesia. Still keeping my cool (I'm not sure how), I informed him that I had to have general anesthesia in India to have it aspirated anyway and that I would much prefer doing it here, then letting it mess up my cycle. He was nice about it and all, but hellz balls I'm frustrated.

Initially I thought I would ask my doctor in India (Dr. P) what to do (which I did), but I also wanted to go ahead and schedule my appointment here. In India they immediately gave me anesthesia and aspirated, in the USA you have to have appointments way ahead of time. After returning home, it occurred to me that he had really been saying laparoscopy removal when he was talking about general anesthesia. I have NO IDEA why he didn't just suggest aspirating it as that is what I told him we had to do last time.

Months ago I had asked my Indian Dr if I should get a laparoscopy to check for endometriosis or just get some sonograms to check for cysts. She only wanted me to do the sonogram and distinctly said no to the laparoscopy. When I called Dr. I to schedule it (had to calm my mind down and go home first), I asked to have it aspirated. If Dr. P wants me to wait till I get there, then I can always cancel. I don't even know if it will be covered on insurance here.

When I come back from India, I will be having a laparoscopy to test for endometriosis. After today, I may want to try to find a different OB/GYN. I miss my old one (had him since I was 15!) and his small practice ways. There is something to be said about a doctor and his staff knowing you every time you walk through the door and remembering everything you tell them.

Waiting for the flood gates to open. If I cry now, then I may be ok when I see hubby later.

I guess the myo-inositol didn't work. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Special Lady Cocktails

When I first was swept up by the internet infertility tornado, I remember reading forum posts from other hopeful women. Falling on a theme (as I often do), I obsessed over the ridiculousness of women taking all kinds of crazy pills - usually without having a doctor recommend them. OMG! DO YOU JUST TAKE ANYTHING YOU FIND ON THE INTERNET??? Some posts swore by the helpfulness while others confessed that they worried it may have hurt. Once discovered, some doctors gave full-on lectures how it was not appropriate for the poster's situation, only to find out that someone else (usually another doctor) in their clinic had told them to take it. Truthfully, I was personally affronted that such naivety and desperateness could drive women to arbitrarily take anything in an attempt to conceive.

The picture above is from MY house. That's right, Ms. Holier-than-thou is ...well, the same as everyone else.

At first it started small. My first pill was THE PILL, and I was told I would have to take it by my Indian doctor to make sure I was synced properly for my IVF treatment. Fair enough. I called my OB/GYN and promptly got a prescription. Let me mention here that I do not like taking birth control pills (bcp) as not only does it make me gain weight and experience occasional nauseousness, but sometimes I experience additional glum side effects (depending on the brand). Fine - whatever - I set my alarm on my phone to give me a daily reminder; particularly because my history of remembering to take medicine on a daily basis is pretty dismal. Especially BCP. Our local IVF doctor also advised to add a pre-natal vitamin (another item bound to make me nauseous) and I immediately relented as I ran to our local Publix.

Baby aspirin and acupuncture were added to the regime - the latter being something I normally would have scoffed at a year earlier. Doctor semi-recommend it and so I shelled out the cash. My husband gave me the big-eye, but I'm guessing he recognized my fervent look and said nothing. 100 bucks a pop for 6 weeks = not cheap. What can I say except I wanted no regrets.

IVF treatment #1 was dismal. 2 eggs retrieved, only 1 fertilized. Even that 1 took a damn long time to fertilize.

Now I am prepping for treatment #2. In typical fashion, I have been obsessively researching similar cases. Not just blog posts, but academic papers and any type of current research I can lay my grubby little eyes on. A clinic in India recommended 25mg of DHEA for 3 months. I rush to pull up the scientific documentation and realized all of the research is really based on a tiny Tel Aviv study. The study showed a significant difference in live birth rates with women who were poor responders and took 75mg of DHEA for 40 days vs women who did not. A follow-up study had additional encouraging results. Screw the 25mgs -I only had about 40 days till cycle, I was going to go full boat - 75mgs it is! [I would like to make a note here that I was not able to take the full 75mg initially because of side effects. I had to build up and even now I have minor side effects.]

Next I read how melatonin could also help woman with poor ovarian reserve and immediately I was hunting down more articles and recommended amounts. 3mgs seemed to be the magical number, but that amount knocked me on my butt. Still 1-2mg was doable and thus it was added. Combining it with the DHEA means I sleep really well, but I'm groggy as all get-out when I wake up. Heaven help me if I don't get a full 8-9 hours. Oddly enough, my friend says she takes 10mg all the time and it barely helps her sleep. What can I say? I'm a lightweight.

Did I stop there? Heck no! I was on a search that day and after reading some articles (which I can not find at the moment) regarding myo-inositol, my amazon shopping cart increased. Among other things, myo-inositol was suppose to help women with cyst issues and a giant cyst almost caused a no-go last cycle. My OB/GYN found a cyst last year and I began to wonder if some of the pain issues I had felt over the last year were cyst related. GIVE ME MYO-INOSITOL NOW!!!

There were a few other things on the list, but these 3 new items had good scientific data to back them up and they applied to women with similar (if not exact) conditions. The other pills I noticed my fellow women-at-arms were taking were either less scientifically regarded or didn't apply to me. Besides, as I mentioned before, I'm a light weight and I wanted to see how I was going to handle this new concoction.

Which brings me to last week. I'm not quite sure HOW I ended up at the Rainbow (read: hippie) Grocery store - but all of a sudden I found myself at the cashier's stand with CoQ10, some fancy fish oil supplements, and yes even some Royal Jelly that was well hidden in a jar of honey. And some awesome low-sugar dried mango. And a yummy nut mix. And Activated Charcoal that I told myself would be good to have on hand if my dogs ever get into something they shouldn't. Somehow I think my subconscious was trying for an easy excuse to get some for me. You know. Just in case.

"Just a spoon full of sugar..." (or honey) 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Random ramblings: career change decisions PART 2

"A funny thing happened the other day...."

"Funny ha-ha or funny weird?"

"I dunno, just kinda funny I guess."


Yesterday I wrote a blog post about changing careers. It has been on my mind of late, and I constantly go back and forth over it. While trying to decide on the matter, I put out feelers to volunteer while I have some free time.

Right before the beginning of the summer, I originally thought of an org I know about that works with child survivors of war. We have a local group that has done some pretty terrific things. When I initially contacted them, I didn't hear back. I've volunteered for many non-profits before, so I realized that this was not entirely uncommon. I contacted them a few weeks later and was told that the volunteer efforts centered around tutoring and that efforts to recruit would start again in September for the new school year. Perfectly understandable.

Knowing I was flying off to India shortly, I decided to hold off on volunteering. In my mind, we would get "virtually" pregnant in July and I would resume working. I'm still surprised by some of my naivety. Especially since a big part of me KNEW that there was only a small chance of this happening

After our return from India, I happened upon some volunteer options while looking at local things to do for Fourth of July. Saw some things and filed it away in the back of my head. A week later we got the bad news about our negative pregnancy result, and I went back to the volunteer site. After reviewing all of the options, I promptly contacted a local org that helps low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS. Two weeks passed and I sent a follow-up email stating I had not heard back from anyone (again, not unusual).

The next morning I received a call. Basically asking,  "when can I start?" Not only did they need someone, but I was informed that a computer savvy volunteer that can work in the day time was a rare commodity. I came in that week, we talked, and the meeting was awesome. I gave out ideas of how to streamline processes and basically let it be known that I wanted to help in a variety of capacities.

Fast forward to today. Went back this morning for another meeting and was asked that if a lead job position came open later in the year, would there be a possibility of interest? I said yes.

There is absolutely no guarantee of anything being available or that I will even like it there - but it's a start. And I'm excited.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Random ramblings: career change decisions


When my son was 3 (he is 20 now for those just joining us), I distinctly remember him climbing up to my then boyfriend's computer and quickly picking up the nuances of AOL to get to the areas he wanted to see. I said to myself, "Self, you need to get back on the computer train, if only to keep up with him." Fast forward 17 years and I've made a very lucrative career in the IT industry that ordinarily would have been difficult for a single mom with my background to achieve.

Computers were not alien to me at the time. In fact, my mother will gladly retell stories of me helping to get our school computer to work when I was in the 2nd grade. I was probably 9 or 10 when I stayed up long nights pounding away on my beloved Radio Shack TRS-80 CoCo. CLOAD indeed my friend (don't feel bad if you didn't get that reference, it was an old BASIC programming command). After diving back into my beloved computers, I realized quickly that a career in technology was the fast track to a decent paycheck with the least amount of effort. Something important when your plate is already full with raising a child on your own and working.

I love technology and as a career it has been very good to me (aside from the gender issues I have run into a few times.) Though it took me awhile to get my bachelors degree from a local college (due to the  aforementioned single-momhood), I was able to complete my IT degree and even get some graduate level courses under my belt (A's of course) in an integrated program that was available to me as an undergrad. Suffice to say, not only have I enjoyed IT, but I am pretty darn good at it.

However, as my son entered his teenage years, I realized that I no longer had a passion for it. I still loved technology, but I didn't feel the excitement I once had. Ideas of going back to school for another career started entering my brain. I knew that if I did a complete career change that I would more than likely need to take some more undergrad courses, so I planned to start my new path once my son graduated from high school. That would be the first time I could take the hit in time and downgrade my income.

Life has a funny way of changing your plans. A little over 4 years ago I decided to have a surgery that would help me with painful issues, but would also guarantee (or so I thought), that I would not have anymore children. I began to contemplate on entering the veterinary field vs the neuroscience field. Both of which, in all likelihood, would have me making less at graduation than I made currently. A few months later I met my future husband.

From the beginning we discussed the "having children" issue and I had to make a big internal decision: mainly to give up changing my career. It was my decision solely to make and I more than willingly made it, a testament to what a wonderful man my husband is. After our marriage we sold my house, bought a much bigger house in town (3x the price my house sold for), and my son started college. In our minds, we naively thought we would get a surrogate pregnant the first time and it would run us around 30K - 40k tops. I almost laugh now about those initial thoughts. Almost.

But having been off work for the last six months has reminded me how much I no longer enjoy my field. It's a niche field and quite frankly I should have been studying this entire "sabbatical". In my field, not only do you have to know a mountain of base level stuff, but you constantly have to stay updated. Blink and everything changes in the field of IT. Especially my area. The amount of time a techie reads to keep their skills updated would stagger many.

Part of me is tired of the gender issues, but more than anything else, I just hate spending so much time doing something that I don't love. No longer do I fantasize of becoming a vet or finding a cure for ADD, but now I am lost in the dreams of making a difference in the world. I want to work with people and do "something that matters", and not just by working in some dimly lit cubicle in some office where I don't fit in.

When I have volunteered in the past is when I was happiest, but I no longer want to "just volunteer". Besides, wanting to have a child means that I will have less time to do things like that. So how does one reconcile extreme looming bills, the probability (hopefully) of LESS time, and the desire to completely switch fields to one I have no experience in, but I believe would provide me more happiness in the end?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blogger leaving: Faith to the Vishwas

Today I logged on to see that one of my favorite blogs had come to an end: Faith to the Vishwas. The site has been wiped except for the final goodbye post. Given their regular postings of daily life, I wonder if they received some sort of harassment. Especially since the site is wiped cleaned.

That may be my overactive imagination and cynical nature. I hope so. Maybe it was just time to retire back to private life. As a person who doesn't even show my own picture on my blog, I certainly understand that.

Faith to the Vishwas was such an encouraging site and I adored watching the girls grow. For those of you that missed it, you missed a lot. 2 men and girl triplets = more adventures than most of us can even imagine. I remember showing my husband videos and pictures of the girls in various adventures and often we would laugh out loud in glee. Your family will be missed and I wish you a lifetime of happiness. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk

Dorothy meets the Cowardly Lion, from the first edition
From The Wizard of Oz,  by the Cowardly Lion
Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?

When I went to India in June for my first IVF treatment, a few people remarked how brave I was. Truthfully, it didn't feel brave. At all. Not even a tiny bit. I have been to India twice before and besides family living there and being able to check things out for us, my husband (who is Indian) traveled with me. He's fluent in Hindi, the national language, and knows several other languages. He can tell by listening to someone where they are from in India and of course is familiar with many customs. When I see others take this journey to India, I feel far less brave than them. Even if the illusion from those here at home is something different.

What I realized last trip, is that I used my husband as a crutch - as did many of the locals. Most people preferred speaking to him in Hindi and it seemed an effort (and slightly rude) to constantly interrupt them with "hey there! English please!" (Note: this was never a problem with our doctor, who always spoke in English and spoke equally to both of us.) I'm sure part of it also had to do with the patriarchal society over there that some are more comfortable with (and no that is not a ding against India as we certainly have our fair share of it here in the US).

The funny part is that I have back-packed through Europe with my 9 year old son before - with only a multi-lingual phrase book, rail pass, basic necessities, and a loose plan that wasn't adhered to. I've been to countries all of the world and navigated myself without too much hullaballoo. I'm more inclined to seek different and daring adventures when on my own, then when not. Let's just say that "impulsive" is a much better adjective to describe me than "overly cautious". Incidentally, this makes my husband a great balance for me when I might otherwise do something truly stupid.

Oddly enough, my husband tends to see the more reserved me when we travel. Especially in India where I'm more reserved around him and family lest I make some huge social gaffe that could reflect upon him or make my in-laws question my good sense. Of which, I tend to have very little of at times. His family are relentless teasers, something which I don't wish to arm them with more fodder and something I really didn't have a lot of growing up. (My step-dad is a relentless teaser as well, so I am getting used to it.) What this amounts to is a less daring attitude when I am with my husband abroad. This actually can be a good thing such as the following conversation will allude:

Me: "Oh look! MONKEY!!!!!" (start fiddling in my purse so I can get either piece of fruit to feed it or my camera)
(Large monkey looks at me for a second from 10-12 feet away.)
Hubby: "Walk away NOW"
Me (whining and walking away): "But it's a MONKEY. I hardly ever see monkeys. And never this close." (wistfully look at monkey while still digging in purse.)
Hubby (trying to get me to hustle): "If monkeys make eye contact, they sometimes attack. Many carry rabies. You can't randomly go up to wild things - especially in India."
Me (pouting): "But I like monkeys..."
Hubby: "Yes, I know. Come on."
(Monkey ducks down alleyway with several of his friends.)

The point of this post? My cycle in September means I will be traveling to India alone. My husband will meet me there after 2 weeks, but before that I am on my own. Well, except for the part of family meeting me at the airport to drive me some portion of my trip. For some reason, hubby and family were freaking out about that and I acquiesced. They wanted someone to stay with me the entire time, but I told my husband "no". I love my Indian family, but it would be far more stressful for me to have one of them there at all times than to just be by myself. Being super hormonal and trying to impress in-laws is just too much pressure. I'd rather fumble around and deal with the frustration of being alone in a foreign land. I'm introverted anyway and that is my comfort zone.

Am I scared? No and Yes. My impulsive behavior tends to make me forget about being scared until I am in the moment, or until I deeply think about it: "ummmmm, maybe this wasn't such a great idea.Opps. Too late now." Especially about things like traveling, or jumping off bridges into who-knows-how-deep water, or walking my dogs at 2am because I figure we all need the exercise. More so what scares me is when other people have fears - then it can bleed into my veins. (That and interviews - those things terrify me!)

However, using a crutch over the last few years has made me more into a cowardly lion. Maybe part of it is having someone else speak the problems that I don't consider. Maybe part of it is knowing my impulsive behavior can get me into trouble. Maybe part of it is that I haven't done things alone in the last four years. Somehow I think it is all of this, and much more.

This time, I will be embarking on a real adventure in India. The idea of it makes me feel braver, something which I really need of late. I have great admiration for all of the bloggers who have gone this route alone, and without incessantly whining, they embrace a totally different culture with only a nod or a joke to frustrations they encounter. Hopefully, I will muster the courage and grace that I have seen radiate many before me.

As Dorothy once hinted at to The Cowardly Lion, "You were courageous all along. You just didn't know it." Let us hope so. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: EEOC, DHEA, and a shooting in a temple

Couple of new things:
1.) I filed my EEOC compliant last week against my last company. Time was running out and I was still feeling massive stress over the whole ordeal. Just going to the EEOC made me feel better. I think a light went off in my head with all the Chick-Fil-A stuff and other things I talk about elsewhere. One day it occurred to me: how can I stand up for others rights when I don't have the courage to stand up for my own. Will post more about all of this later.

2.) I'm still hormonal from the DHEA. Tend to feel very enraged at small things. I've asked my friend if I can use her as a bouncing board to see if my "reaction matches the situation". She said yes, so at least I have that as a fall back. Facebook seems to be a never-ending frustration of anger for me, so I think I will just try and cut back. Anyhow, the DHEA has a big effect on my emotions, but it's totally worth it.

3.) My deepest condolences go out to the Sikh community and all those affected by the terrible tragedy at the temple in Wisconsin. There is so much hate in this world. We must all do our part to change this for now and for future generations. At least this is encouraging: Hundreds attend suburban Sikh prayer vigils. Will try and write more on this later. I hope the world doesn't think we are all ignorant and full of hate.